Earrings That Resemble Swastikas Raise Eyebrows In Greenpoint

Owner Apologizes For The Confusion, Takes Remaining Items Off The Shelves

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A Brooklyn jewelry store was back-pedaling Wednesday after selling earrings shaped like swastikas.

Take a look at the earrings — what do YOU see?

“An anti-Semitic message. I mean it’s a swastika,” said Jade Elzien of Greenpoint.

“It’s super offensive, super offensive,” added Dominika Nowicka.

The earrings have been on the shelves of Bejeweled, a jewelry store in Greenpoint, for the last six months and selling steadily, the owner told CBS 2’s Kathryn Brown, until last week when one customer became offended, snapped a picture and it went viral.

“It looks like a German Gestapo thing to me,” resident Michael Fornaro said.

If you look closely the earrings are actually the reverse of a swastika, but some said that doesn’t matter.

“The way that it would be worn by many who would walk around with those earrings would be conveyed as a hateful message,” City Councilman Steve Levin said.

Bill Akin with the Soka Gakkai Buddhist Association said the swastika originated as a Sanskrit symbol of peace and prosperity.

And that message is the same — no matter which way its facing. But — he acknowledged – its been tainted.

“This is a symbol we’ve only seen associated with Nazi Germany,” Akin said. “I think the Nazis manipulated and twisted both the fundamental meaning of the symbol as well as the physical appearance of the symbol.”

Young Kim owns the store and told Brown through an interpreter that she sells a lot of religious jewelry.

“It wasn’t a symbol of hate. It was just representing that symbol for the Buddhists, the Tibetans, the Chinese,” said Chris Sung, the store owner’s friend.

Kim apologized for selling the earrings and has pulled the remaining earrings off store shelves. She said she won’t be ordering any more and that she’s learned a lesson in sensitivity — the hard way.

The store owner said the earrings are made in India and she does not believe they are intended to be anti-Semitic.

What do you think of the earrings? Sound off in our comments section below.

  • Guest

    Jews 1 : Buddhist 0

  • Dan Te

    If it offends some people then they should get rid of it.

    • Rodin

      So let’s get rid of you!

  • Rodin

    TO: Young Kim

    Don’t be cowered by fools and fanatics. Don’t stop selling these. Order more! Get rid of everything else in your store and specialize in these earrings. There’ll be a huge demand for them with all this free publicity and you’ll make a killing. Lots of $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$!

    It’s Capitalism. It’s the AMERICAN WAY!

  • Dylan

    Yeah, I live in Korea a country that is equal parts Christian, Buddhist and Atheist and this symbol is everywhere. I will acknowledge when I first got here I was a little confused but then I used this magical website. You might have heard of it, it’s called Google.


    • Rodin

      This is a great lesson in American culture for any foreigner. It shows you how hung up we are on the religion thing and why we have candidates who are supposedly vying for President acting like they’re competing for “canonization” or sainthood.

      On top of which, no one is capable of checking on anything before spewing their imbecilities. Great observation about the “magical website.” Google!!! It takes a foreigner to cut through the krap. LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • DCLaw-1

        Yes. Looking to foreigners from Asia, Africa, and Europe to educate ignorant and backward Americans. Nations on these continents have hundreds, maybe thousands oif years of embedded racism, religious discriminations, purges, pograms, ethnic cleansings, colonialism, and mass murder of minorities for both political and religious ends. Nations from Asia, to Europe use immigration laws harshly as a means of discrimination (laws that pale in comparrison to those passed in Arizona and Alabama), and to ensure the purity of their national make-up. Switzerland has banned the construction of minarets on mosques. American history, at its worst, does not include the atrocities committed, and being committed abroad. Finally, in our Nation;s relatively short history, we have made civil rights andfreligious liberty strides that have eluded most foreign countries, by leaps and bounds. While it is fashionable on the Left, and in Academia to spew hatred against the US, such hatred is misinformed and misplaced

        • Rodin

          Dylan, this is called “jingoism.” To admit one’s faults is not hate, it’s realism. Those who can’t face them spew. They’re deep into the myth of American ‘Exceptionalism,’ which is not.

          “People seem to be offended by facts, or what used to be called truth.”
          ~ FRANCIS BACON

          • Rodin

            PS –

            “Here, Gentlemen, a Dog teaches us a lesson in humanity.” ~ NAPOLEON BONAPARTE

            • DCLaw-1

              Really? That is your response?

              • Rodin

                No, it’s an addition to my comment to Dylan. Do try following the thread. Check fro the curving arrows on the left of each comment. Hint, hint.

          • DCLaw-1

            JIngoism? it is simply a fact. Please feel free to use facts to demonstrate where I am wrong in either of my posts. Also, please feel free to use facts in explaining where this Utopian country that is free from problems associated with racism is on the map. I am presenting facts that show the other side of the coin you cannot seem to turn. Nobody disagrees that the US is steeped in problems. However, when compared to the rest of the world, the US has the best system in place to deal with it and allow for progress.

            Again, if there is something I am overlooking please point out, using facts, where I am wrong. I dont paint myself as all-knowing, and am open to being proven wrong by established fact. Resorting to words memorized from your sociology textbook, such jingoism, is to fail to admit fault, and be offended by facts.

        • DCLaw-1

          It should also be noted, that unlike immigrants in places such as France, Switzerland, Germany, and Norway, the US Federalist design allows immigrants (legal and illegal) recourse to all levels of an impartial multi-level Federal judiciary when they believe their civil rights have been violated by the States. Further, with regards to the earrings in question, it is local popular opinion, not the government, forcing the merchants decision to stop selling the earrings.

  • Rodin

    BEFORE YOU POST, inform yourself!

    The History of the Swastika
    By Jennifer Rosenberg, About.com

    The Oldest Known Symbol

    The swastika is an ancient symbol that has been used for over 3,000 years. (That even predates the ancient Egyptian symbol, the Ankh!) Artifacts such as pottery and coins from ancient Troy show that the swastika was a commonly used symbol as far back as 1000 BCE.

    During the following thousand years, the image of the swastika was used by many cultures around the world, including in China, Japan, India, and southern Europe.

    Though it is not known for exactly how long, Native Americans also have long used the symbol of the swastika.
    The Original Meaning

    The word “swastika” comes from the Sanskrit svastika – “su” meaning “good,” “asti” meaning “to be,” and “ka” as a suffix.


    Don’t make an arse out of yourself.

    • Rodin

      …and stop being so damned anti-Jewish. RELIGION poisons everything, as Christopher Hitchens aptly put it, proof herewith.

      • DCLaw-1

        Religion is also responsible for great charitable works and contributions (hospitals, homeless shelters, soup kitchens……). More so than most non-secular entities. How many millions have dies in places like the USSR and China in the secular state’s pursuit of eliminating religion. Religion has caused a great many harms, deaths, and has led to discrimination, yes. But there is a good side to it as well. Christopher Hitchens’ agenda does not allow for seeing the good in anything except Christopher Hitchens. It would be interesting to see your answer to the “problem” of religion.

        • Rodin

          Charitable works to proselytize.

          “I’m not a social worker. I don’t do it for this reason. I do it for Christ. I do it for the church.” ~ MOTHER TERESA

          “There is a story, which is fairly well known, about when the missionaries came to Africa. They had the Bible and we, the natives, had the land. They said ‘Let us pray,’ and we dutifully shut our eyes. When we opened them, why, they now had the land and we had the Bible.” ~ DESMOND TUTU

          • DCLaw-1

            IThose are great quotes, but I have dealt with both Catholic hospitals and hospices, Jewish inner-city tutoring programs, and have never heard a word about a religious belief or requirement. Also, can you honestly say that those helped by individuals like Mother Theresa, who went to places, raised money, and helped those nobody else would help, would have been better off without her?

            My point has been that while many terrible things occur in the name of God, there is also a good side to religion that has bettered the lives of many. The anger of the secular is, as history clearly demonstrates, as frightening as the anger of the non-secular.

            • Rodin

              1 – Methinks you should watch this about Theresa the Wretch:
              Christopher Hitchens on Mother Teresa (2006)

              2 – This might just as well apply to your “point”:
              “To wage a war for a purely moral reason is as absurd as to ravish a woman for a purely moral reason.” ~ H.L.MENCKEN

              3 – Yet no secularists have ever persecuted “non-secularists,” i.e. “believers.” Historically and forever, it’s been the other way around. It’s the secularists, the dissenters, the ‘apostates’ and ‘heretics’ who have always had to run and hide. Our anger is at religious intrusion into our lives. Look no further than the GOP primary debates. Should we dare protest that invasion, WE are waging war on religion.

              And please don’t jump with the Communism/Nazism/Stalinism/Maoism straw man. In inflexibility, like doctrine and dogma, these were religions as well.

              Don’t bother me again. I don’t enjoy discussions with fossils or walls. Why do I even bother?

              I’m taking my Dogs for their walk. THAT’s serious business!

        • Rodin

          I don’t know how I missed this.

          “It would be interesting to see your answer to the “problem” of religion.”

          HERE IT IS:

          The Dutch of the Golden Age(XVII c.)who gave us oil paint, the art gallery, genre painting and still life, letter writing, the postal service, international trade, the stock market, the tulip and gin, also embraced religious tolerance, “freedom of religion” … and FROM it. While the they were free to believe or not in whatever got them through the night, it was to be done so privately. Banned were all outward manifestations and religious symbols, ergo: no proselytizing, no problem.

          The result was one of the greatest cultural watersheds in history: a time of science and commerce, exploration, philosophy, art, literature, music that became a refuge for ALL at a moment ripe with religious persecution. Baruch Spinoza, the Portuguese Jewish philosopher, flourished there while working placidly as a lens grinder; Isaac Newton published his treatises there. Rembrandt, Van Dyck and Vermeer came out of that time free from religious obstruction and intolerance.


  • John

    Dominica ….. Learn history

  • Go back to Idaho

    This is just a case of some trust-fund hipster who opened a jewelry store and is not sensitive to any religions or cultures. Most likely because she comes from a place (not NYC) where there are no Jews. Most of these transplants feel they know what’s best for everyone because they were able to backpack and “experience” the world after high school on their parent’s dime. They have no clue, but unfortunately they’ve infested our city. New York will suffer in the future because of these soulless, culture-less, “ultra-cool” imperialists.

    • Jerry Yates

      First of all its the jewish kids who go backpacking the world,the white working class cant afford it.Second the symbol on the earrings are turned to the left not the right,pay attention,just because Hitler used it no one else is allowed?Next maybe soldiers should not march in formation because Hitlers soldiers did,or wait Hitler ate birthday cake on his birthday oh my birthday cake is a symbol of hate!!!

  • Rodin

    Inform yourselves, Judeo-Christian paranoiacs!!

    “The swastika (Sanskrit: स्वस्तिक) is an equilateral cross with its arms bent at right angles, in either right-facing (卐) form in counterclockwise motion or its mirrored left-facing (卍) form in clockwise motion. Earliest archaeological evidence of swastika-shaped ornaments dates back to the Indus Valley Civilization of Ancient India as well as Classical Antiquity.”

    This is what the jewelry image represents. The Nazis adopted the counter clockwise version because it could be made to represent the Nazi double ‘S’, SS, ‘Gestapo.’

    Leave Iowa and visit Asia and you’ll find it in every Buddhist* temple.

    * Buddhism, founded between the 6th and 4th centuries BCE. Nazism originated circa 1918 CE, 2,600 years later.


    She should have kept on selling them. It’s a buddhist symbol. There is nothing wrong with it. People are so narrow minded these days.

  • Brian

    What if the earrings resembled a hammer and sickle, symbol of USSR under Stalin who killed 30-40 million innocent people… I’m guessing that would be cool, because they were mostly Christians

    • littlestar

      Actualy Brian ? This is the truth.

  • Tony

    I can see how these ear rings are offensive. Perhaps the seller or designer is also related to the racist person who WORKED at that papa johns pizza place. It is so so sad during our advanced existence we are still barbarians.

  • John C

    Unless you’re dyslexic, there are two different directions and two different symbols involved here … knowing the difference will spread tolerance.

  • Glenn Ferro

    They will stop “making a fuss over swastikas” when people stop using swastikas as a weapon of intimidation against them, while threatening to wipe the Jews off the face of the earth. If the swastika is nothing for the Jews to worry about, why do cowardly little weasel people have to sneak around in the dark of night to vandalize Synagogues, businesses, houses, etc. Some ubermenschen you guys are. In the light of day, you’re a joke. Hiding in the dark, dangerous through anonymity. Try scarves around your faces like your boys in the PLO. When you get to the words that are too big or confusing, let me know. I could use a laugh. You’re wrong, by the way, I’m a born again Christian. I have to admit, one thing you guys are good at is being wrong.

    • DCLaw-1

      Thanks friend.

    • Rodin

      More people have been killed in the name of Christianity than those killed by the Nazis.

      “I am now as before a Catholic and will always remain so.”

      “I am convinced that I am acting as the agent of our Almighty Creator. By fighting the Jews, I am doing the Lord’s work.”

      “The national Government sees in both Christian denominations the most important factor for the maintenance of our society.”

      “The work that Christ started but could not finish, I, Adolf Hitler, will conclude.”


      Be born again … with a brain!

    • Jerry Yates

      The reason people do it in the middle of the night and sneak is because it’s illegal you dummy!If it were legal like bashing white people then of course these vandals(bless their hearts)would do it day and night.Perhaps miss born again christian you should crucify yourself with your own stupidity,oh boo hoo for the poor jews!

      • DCLaw-1

        Actually, displaying the swastika on your person or personal property is not illegal. Spray painting or defacing the property of others is the illegal act. It is illegal to display the swastika in Germany, but not in the US. Somebody spray painting anti-white symbols on the property of others are subject to prosecution under the same laws as those who spray paint swastikas.

    • PaPa Joe

      Hey Glenn, that’s well said. I am sick and tired of Jews being blamed for everything. Remember when Mel Gibson said that Jews were responsible for wars. Well I’d like to talk to the Jews about the War of 1812. Ridiculous! II’ve been the music minister in my church for more that twenty years. That does not make me an expert on anything but I’ve heard a lot of nonsense. My favorite is that the holocaust never happened. By-the-way, I’ve always thought that the scarves or ski masks, balaclavas, were worn because the wearers are cowards.

    • Marcus

      And what about all these buildings full of necrophiliacs whorshiping a cadaver nailed to a torture / bondage device, while performing ceremonial cannibalism?

  • 2gruesome2b

    perhaps it might more sense to indicate the word swastika is derived from sanskrit, and what is offensive is the german designation, hakenkreuz. the symbol of nazi germany is the latter designation.

  • KPMc

    “the design is originally Tibetan and represents prosperity and luck.

    The symbol has been around for millennia and has different meanings in different cultures.”

    So much for tolerance, open-mindeness and personal freedom. If someone is offended, it MUST be banned!

    • IgnoranteElephante

      No. No. No. It’s only when tthe JEWS are offended, that things become banned.

      • DCLaw-1

        The earrings are not banned. The store had, and has every right to sell them, but made the choice not to because some are offended. Nobody was forced, by law, to do anything here. You are free to buy the store’s remaining stock of these earrings and sell them. Also, please name one thing banned by law in the US, or any of the fifty states, on behalf of the Jews.

        • Rodin

          “Nobody was forced,” just intimidated.

          “Also, please name one thing banned by law in the US, or any of the fifty states, on behalf of the Jews.”

          Alternate side of the street parking on Jewish holidays not to mention the myriad “accommodations.”

  • Henry

    When will jews stop making a fuss over swastikas? Especially when it is not so obvious as is the case here. Geez.

    • DCLaw-1

      Maybe you can view the swastika in the same light as the “N” word. Jews feel the same at seeing the swastika as African-Americans do when they see the N word. Maybe I am overstating, but it seems an apt comparison?

      • Michael H.

        The “N” word only has one meaning. The swastika has multiple meanings from multiple cultures around the world and throughout history.

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